“Ok, so we got the decorations…” Twilight checked off an item on her checklist as she examined the various balloons and streamers around the room. “Food…” She checked off another items as she examined a large selection of snacks of sweets set on various tables. “Music…” She turned to Pinkie Pie, who confirmed that the music was ready by nodding. “Great! Looks like everything’s ready for Trixie’s birthday!”
“How in the hay did you even find out Trixie’s birthday, anyway?” Applejack asked, placing her present to Trixie with the others.
“Princess Celestia looked it up for me. She said that nopony should miss their birthday, and we don’t know when, if at all, she’ll remember it herself.” Twilight answered, double checking her checklist to make sure she hadn’t overlooked anything. “It looks like everything’s in order. I’ll go and get Trixie.” She said, leaving Sugarcube Corner and heading back to the library, where she had told Trixie to wait whilst she did some shopping.
Twilight entered the library, and called out for Trixie. When she didn’t receive a reply, she tried walking further in, and calling out yet again. Nothing again. She looked around the library with a confused look. She made it clear to Trixie that she wanted her to stay here, and Trixie seemed to be so absorbed in her book that she couldn’t picture her leaving any time soon.
“Looking for somepony?” Twilight spun around quickly at the sound of a stallion’s voice, and gasped when she saw Sawdust looking at her, a huge, menacing grin on his face. “What? Didn’t expect to see me so soon? Too bad for you the Royal Guard is so easy to fool. Just a simple fake corpse and a little bit of magic, and they wrote me off as dead, just like that.”
Twilight’s horn lit up, and she lowered her heads at Sawdust, preparing to fire her magic at him. “YOU! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH TRIXIE!?”
Sawdust chuckled, and his body started to fade away for a second, fading back in just as quickly. “Sorry, Twilight Sparkle. ‘Tis just an image of my glorious self, being transmitted from somewhere nearby.” Twilight’s magic faded, and she turned her head up to glare at Sawdust, growling angrily. “Oh, and don’t worry about Trixie. She’s quite safe. For now.”
“Where is she!? Tell me!”
“Well that’d just ruin all the fun, now wouldn’t it?” Sawdust said. “Y’know, there’s only one thing I hate more than ponies I can’t control. Ponies who HUMILIATE me!” His grinning face turned into a face of anger as he returned Twilight’s hate-filled glare. “But, I’m a fair pony, so I’ll give you a chance to save your precious marefriend.
“The rules are fairly simple. One the game starts, you have one hour to find Trixie. Hint: She is somewhere in Ponyville. If you find her in time, you will be offered the chance to save her. If not, she will die. Simple, right?”
“You’re insane…” Twilight said, looking over at her desk, where there was a quill pen and a piece of paper.
“I know. It’s great. You should try it sometime.” Sawdust responded sarcastically. “I wouldn’t think about contacting the Princess if I were you. Or I may just go ahead and take Trixie’s life right now.
“Now, here are the rules. Rule number one: No magic. Rule number two: Only Ponyvillians may help you. This excludes Zecora and Fluttershy as they live outside of Ponyville.”
Twilight looked shocked that he knew those names, and he decided to explain things to her. “I’ve done my research on you, Twilight Sparkle. Star student of Princess Celestia, and bearer of the Element of Magic, right?
“Now, if anyone from outside Ponyville offers their help, regardless of who asked for it, then Trixie’s life will immediately be forfeit. I have an eavesdrop spell cast around Ponyville, so you won’t get away with it. Naturally, rule number three is that you can’t leave Ponyville.
“Well, that’s it! Good luck, my little pony!”
And with that, the image of Sawdust disappeared from Twilight’s sight, and she wasted no time in charging outside, beginning the search for Trixie. She took a look at the clock on the Ponyville bell tower, and saw that it was 15:45. She only had one hour. That wasn’t nearly enough time to search the whole town by herself.
She could have asked others for help, but there were problems with that. First, she didn’t want to put anypony else in danger. This stallion was completely out of his mind, and she had no idea what he was going to do once she was found. Second, they may not understand the gravity of the situation, and may attempt to break the rules, thinking that they could get away with it. She couldn’t monitor everypony and search for Trixie at the same time.
But she had to ask someone, so she began thinking of who to ask. Her friends were the first choice, but she wasn’t allowed to ask Fluttershy for help. If she were to ask all of her friends except Fluttershy, she might become curious, and attempt to find out what they were doing. And if she did find out, it would be all over.
At the same time, she couldn’t ask just one or two of her friends for the same reason. The others would become curious, and Fluttershy, again, may find out.
‘I could put Fluttershy to sleep…No, magic isn’t allowed. Damnit! What do I do!?’
“Bit for your thoughts, Miss Sparkle?” Twilight turned around to see Doctor Whooves approaching her, looking concerned at Twilight overly-panicked expression. “Did something happen?”
Twilight tried to think fast. Was Doctor a resident of Ponyville? It’s true he spent a lot of time here, but…She tried to remember the complete list of Ponyville residents that she had read over a few times when she had first arrived, and was happy when she could remember seeing Doctor’s name and face in there. She immediately grabbed Doctor by his shoulders with her front hooves, and began pleading for his help.
She explained the situation, and Doctor put a hoof to his chin, thinking of a plan of action for the two to take. “Right, so we know he’s somewhere in Ponyville…With just the two of us, it would take far too long to search everywhere.” He looked around himself, and began thinking of who to recruit. “Ok, leave it to me! I’ll find some ponies who can help us, and make sure they understand the situation.”
Twilight smiled at Doctor, happy that she had run into him. “Thanks, Doctor. Then, I’ll go search the Sweet Apple Acres farm.” She and Doctor agreed to meet up at this same spot 10 minutes later, giving Twilight plenty of time to search the Sweet Apple Acres farm area. Out of all of the ponies in Ponyville, he was probably the most intelligent one, and had proven himself an excellent leader in a time of crisis. A little odd, but still a brilliant mind. This thought helped to calm Twilight down greatly.
Sawdust polished a knife he was levitating in front of Trixie, grinning at her and humming a cheerful tune. “Wonder if she’ll make it. Oh, it’d be so funny if she made it just a few seconds too late, don’t you think?” Trixie, who was chained to a contraption of some kind next to a wall with her magic suppressed by an anti-magic ring on her horn, glared at Sawdust, and remained silent. “Well, I guess it can’t be much fun when it’s your life that’ll end, huh?”
“Why are you doing this?” Trixie asked, flinching as the knife pressed lightly against her neck. “If it’s revenge you want, then just take it out on me. Leave Twilight and the others alone.”
“Ooh, very brave, very noble.” Sawdust said in a sing-song voice, pressing the knife harder into Trixie’s neck to cause some blood to start trickling down. He pulled it away, and made his way over to a switch next to the contraption that Trixie was chained to. “But that Unicorn was almost responsible for my downfall. And she’s the cause of our love not working out. There’s no way I’ll let her get away with all of that.”
Before Trixie could ask what he meant, he flipped the switch next to her, causing an electrical current to pass through her entire body. Her body started to spasm uncontrollably, and she let out a loud scream as the pain passed through her. Sawdust wasn’t worried. He had the entire room soundproofed beforehand, so that, no matter how loud she screamed, nopony would be able to hear her.
After a few seconds, Sawdust turned off the current, and Trixie started to pant heavily, her head hanging low as she tried to recover from the electrical attack that had just occurred. “It’d be boring to just sit around and do nothing whilst I wait. This way, I can have some fun. And it gets things ready for if Twilight does manage to find us. Just imagine the look on her face when she sees you barely hanging on to dear life.” His face took on a huge grin as drool started to fall out from his mouth. “I almost want to just tell her where we are. But then, watching her squirm and suffer as she tries to find you is fun in its own way, too.”
Trixie coughed a little bit, and allowed herself to catch her breath, before slowly raising her head, and resuming her glare on the insane pony in front of her. “Twilight won’t break so easily. You’ll see.”
Sawdust flipped the switch again, and then turned off the current after a few more seconds of shocking his prisoner. “You talk too much. Please save your strength. If Twilight does make it here in time, I want to see you begging her to save your life.” Sawdust chuckled at the image he had just described, and then gave Trixie a few more seconds of shock therapy. “Hey, what d’you like better? The knife, or the gun?” Sawdust asked, levitating the two items in front of Trixie.
When Trixie didn’t respond, he prodded her a few times with the knife. Besides a few twitches when the knife pierced her skin, Trixie did not respond. “What, you passed out already? You’re no fun! C’mon! Wake up already!” He tried to wake her up by smacking her with his gun a few times, but she remained passed out cold.
He sighed, and walked up close to her, attempting one last thing to wake her up. “Hey, Trixie. I don’t know if you remember, but I once told you that your uncle died because of a fire you caused with your magic.” He couldn’t hold back his maniacal laughter as he leaned in and prepared to tell her the truth. “The truth is…You uncle tried to sell you to the mafia, but by some good fortune, the house somehow caught fire, killing both him, and the ones who tried to buy you.”
Trixie didn’t respond, but he continued under the hope that, even in her unconscious state, she could hear him. “That’s right! Your father preferred you didn’t exist! And your uncle, the one you trusted most in the world, tried to sell you as if you were just a business tool!” He laughed even harder, pulling Trixie into a tight hug. “I’m the only one that’s ever loved you! ME! And yet…Despite that…” He drove his knife into Trixie’s left foreleg, a little deeper than the prods earlier. This resulted in a small shriek from Trixie, but she still didn’t wake up. “You love HER!? Instead of ME!? DON’T FUCK WITH ME! IF YOU WON’T RETURN MY FEELINGS, I’LL LET YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS…TO BE TORN APART FROM THE ONE YOU LOVE!”
Sawdust threw the knife across the room, causing it to pierce the wall on the other end, and slammed his gun down onto a nearby table, panting heavily after finishing his hate-filled rant. Tears started to fall down his face as his breath started to slow down, but he simply wiped them away, and began laughing once again. “I’ll kill her…Your special somepony…I’LL KILL HER, AND YOU TOO!”
Trixie looked around the schoolyard, watching the many ponies as they played together in their own circles of friends. She brought the straw of her juice box to her lips, and began to drink her juice, still looking around at all of the ponies, trying to find a certain one in particular.
A group of two fillies and one colt approached her, one of them holding a ball with their magic. “Hey there.” One of the fillies, the light-green one, said to Trixie. “Are you alone? Do you want to be our friend?”
Trixie looked at the three foals for a second, examining each one closely. Neither of them were the one that she was looking for. She took another sip of her juice, and then turned to face the green filly. “Have you seen Twilight Sparkle?”
The three foals exchanged glances, shrugging at each other, before looking back at Trixie with confused expressions on their faces. “Who?” The colt asked.
“Twilight Sparkle.” Trixie repeated, turning to the colt. “She’s a student here. A purple Unicorn. She had the highest score out of everypony from the Magic test last week.”
The grey filly realised who Trixie was talking about. “I think she’s in the library. She doesn’t like to come out here very much.”
“The library?” Trixie asked, receiving a confirming nod from the grey filly. “I see. Thank you.” She said, walking off towards the library immediately.
Once she arrived at the library, she looked around the large area, seeing many of the older students searching frantically for books to use in their research projects. ‘I’ll be in the same place in a few years, won’t I?’ She eventually caught sight of the purple Unicorn that she was searching for. She was sitting by herself, reading a book with about 20 others stacked next to her. ‘What the hay? How much does this filly read?’
Trixie approached Twilight Sparkle, who didn’t seem to even noticed the blue filly stopping right next to her. Trixie realised she would have to gain her attention, and tried to politely introduce herself. “Good day, Miss Sparkle. My name is Trixie. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She said, extending her hoof towards the purple Unicorn.
Twilight said nothing, but instead just continued to read her book, completely unaware of Trixie’s presence. Trixie tried again. “Hello, Twilight. Are you busy right now? If so, I can come back later.” Twilight again didn’t say anything. Trixie got angry at this, and tried a third time. “TWILIGHT SPARKLE!” She shouted, gaining a collection of shushes from the ponies around her.
It worked, though. Twilight snapped back to reality, and turned to face Trixie. “Oh, did you want something? Sorry, I always get too absorbed into a book when I’m reading.” She said, a slight blush on her face as she giggled nervously.
Trixie cleared her throat, herself blushing when she realised how loud her voice was just a moment ago. ‘Well, whatever works…’ She sat down next to Twilight, and once again extended her hoof forwards. “I am Trixie. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Twilight looked at the hoof, and then back at Trixie’s face, clearly confused. “Ok? Um…Can I help you with something?”
Trixie stared at Twilight for a moment, and then pulled her hoof back, realising that she wasn’t going to shake it. “You…Don’t recognise my name?” Twilight shook her head, and Trixie sighed. “I placed second in last week’s Magic test.”
“Ooh…Congratulations. Second place is pretty good.” Twilight said, smiling at Trixie. “But, why are you telling me this?”
“You placed first, correct?” Twilight nodded, and Trixie continued. “I wanted to see if…Well…” Trixie began to blush, and had to look away from Twilight in order to continue. “Would you…Like to be my friend?” Her blush grew brighter, and Twilight’s look of confusion returned to her face. “I mean, you’re clearly a very talented Unicorn. And I’m not too far behind, since I only lost by 2 points.” She made it a point to refer to the tests as a sort of contest between the two. “I think there’s a lot we can learn from each other, don’t you?”
Twilight considered her proposal for a second, but then returned to her book. “Sorry, but I have a lot of studying to do. I don’t have time for friendships.”
Trixie turned back towards Twilight, her eyes and mouth wide open, looking at her in disbelief. “Fine then, if that’s how you feel…” Trixie said, getting up and beginning to walk away. She stopped for a moment, and turned back to the purple Unicorn. “But this means we’re rivals, got that!? You’d better study hard, or one day, I’ll surpass you, Twilight Sparkle!”
Twilight didn’t respond at all. She just simply continued reading through her book, once again lost to the world around her. Trixie turned around and began stomping angrily out of the library, ignoring the angry glares that were watching her after she had made so much noise.
Trixie groaned as she looked at the board at the front of the class. “SPORTS DAY!” was written at the very top, and underneath, a table with the various activities written at the top of each column. “Why Trixie!?” Trixie asked as she slammed her hooves on her table, glaring at the board. In particular, at her name, which was written under the “Relay” column. She had also been entered in swimming and acrobatics. Those two she didn’t mind. For swimming, she was only entered as a backup. And for acrobatics, she actually looked forward to it, and requested to be in it. But relay? She didn’t like the idea of running at all, and the relay races at this school were long. Each pony in the group had to run one lap around the field, and then pass the baton on to the next pony in their group. The groups consisted of four ponies from a certain class, and in this case, Trixie was one of those four ponies.
“Sorry, Trixie, but you need to enter at least three events. And you refused all the other ones.” The teacher said, pointing out that now, this was the only event that Trixie could enter. She sat back down in her seat, and held her head between her hooves, moaning about how unfair life was.
Still, it wasn’t all bad. She looked over at Twilight, who was panicking just as much as Trixie. She was staring at the bored, one eye twitching, her mouth moving up and down, and her hooves shaking. Even her hair was being affected; her mane and tail made it look like she had just suffered an electrical shock. Trixie giggled at the sight of her rival looking so freaked out. She enjoyed this sight the previous two years that this day came around, as well.
She also managed to get Twilight nominated into the one event she wanted to see her in most. Cheerleading. ‘Finally! Trixie failed last year, and the year before, but this year, Trixie is victorious! She will have to make sure to get a picture of Twilight during the event.’ Trixie thought to herself, wondering what Twilight would look like in a cheerleader’s uniform.
‘…In her current state, kinda scary.’ She noticed that Twilight was starting to nibble on the end of her pen, still staring at the board. Trixie noticed that some ink was starting to leak out of the pen, and wanted to say something, but Twilight was already a step ahead of her, placing down the pen and using her magic to wipe up the mess with her hoofkerchief.
Trixie noticed that she had been watching Twilight for about 10 minutes, and quickly turned her attention back to the board, where the teacher was busy explaining how Sports Day would work this year. ‘What’s wrong with Trixie?’ Trixie asked herself in her head. ‘Why does Trixie keep staring at Twilight every lesson? At this rate, Trixie will never surpass Twilight.’
“Trixie objects!” Trixie shouted, standing up and holding up the script that was in front of her. “Trixie’s talents would be wasted on Roberto! She demands nothing less than the heroine! Roberto doesn’t even appear that much on stage!”
Newton scrolled through a few pages of his own script with his magic. “Yes, but Roberto is…” He chose his words carefully. He wanted Trixie to play the role of Roberto in the class’ summer play because Roberto was a loud-mouth with an over-inflated ego. But if he told her that, she would definitely refuse. “He may appear less, but he definitely stands out more, wouldn’t you agree?”
A filly next to Newton stood up and nodded in agreement. “Yeah, you don’t wanna play such a boring role like the heroine, right? The true spotlight will be on Roberto!”
Trixie sat back down and folded her forehooves. “Trixie refuses. Roberto simply doesn’t stand out. Not to mention the romance scene. Trixie refuses to give her first kiss to just anypony, even if it is only in a play.”
Suddenly, an idea hit Newton, and he grinned mischievously, scarring some of the fillies and colts around him. They knew what that grin meant. He was up to something, and when had that grin on his face, they knew he would soon be getting his way.
“Ok, we’ll skip over the role of Roberto for now…” Newton said, turning to Twilight. “And we’ll focus on the role of Roberto’s lover, Alison. Twilight, I think you would be perfect for this role.” Trixie’s ear twitched, and she turned her head to Twilight, who was reading through the script.
“Are you sure?” She asked. It must not have been very interesting, since she was able to keep up with reality. “I mean, I’m not a very good actor.”
“That’s why you’ll be perfect for this role.” Newton said. “Alison is a shy, timid girl who keeps to herself a lot. For somepony like you, who doesn’t talk or interact with others very much, it should be easy to play such a role.” Twilight considered it for a second, and then agreed to play the role, since all of the minor roles had already been taken anyway. She didn’t want a role that would require a lot of talking.
“Perfect!” Newton shouted excitedly. “Now, back to the role of Roberto-”
“Trixie will play that role!” Trixie shouted, surprising most of the ponies in the class. “Trixie has had a sudden change of heart. She would like to play the role of Roberto.”
Newton’s grin grew wider as his plan went exactly as he predicted. “Thank you, Trixie. Please do your best in the play, alright?” He watched as Trixie held the script up to her face and began highlighting her lines, mumbling angrily under her breath. She hesitated when she reached the romantic scene, where Roberto would have to kiss Alison, and Newton had to hold back his laughter. ‘This filly’s so much fun. I’m glad I was put in the same class as her.’
Trixie looked up from her script when she felt a hoof touch her shoulder, and was surprised to see Twilight standing next to her, covering the lower part of her face with her own script. “Um…” Twilight started. “Trixie, right?”
Trixie had gotten used to Twilight forgetting her name at this point. As had the rest of the class. There was one point where everypony would wear nametags, just for Twilight’s sake, but they discarded them when they realised they never spoke to Twilight that much anyway. “Yeah.” Trixie responded, still surprised that Twilight had actually approached her, instead of the other way around.
“Well, I thought that…Y’know, since we’ll be doing most of our scenes together…Maybe we could practice?” She raised the script a little higher, turning her eyes away as she waited for a reply.
Trixie had to really try hard to contain her happiness. Not only had Twilight approached Trixie and spoken to her, but now, she was offering to spend some time with Trixie. This may have been the big break that Trixie was hoping for. If she accepts, and she and Twilight start to get along, she may finally get Twilight to open up to her, and actually speak to her on a regular basis.
“Sure.” Trixie said, trying not to show her excitement in front of everypony. “You want to come to Trixie’s place after school, then?”
Twilight shook her head, and lowered the script a bit, feeling a little more confident in herself after Trixie accepted her initial request. “Um, I was actually wondering…If it’s not too much trouble, I mean…Would you like to come over to my house, instead?” Twilight was still uncomfortable with the idea of going over to somepony else’s house, and was hoping that Trixie wouldn’t mind going to Twilight’s house, instead.
Trixie did not mind at all. In fact, this made her even happier. The thought of going to Twilight’s house and meeting her family, and finding out how she lives outside of school…‘Why is Trixie so excited? She’s only going so that she can work on her acting for this play…Yes it would be nice to learn more about Trixie’s rival, but it’s nothing to get this excited over.’ “That would be fine, Twilight Sparkle.”
Twilight smiled widely, and quickly drew up a map from the school to her house for Trixie to follow. She told Trixie that she would be staying after school for library duty, and that she could go on ahead and wait for her if she wanted to.
Trixie arrived at her uncle’s home, and threw her saddlebags onto the floor next to the door. “Uncle, I’m home.” Trixie said, walking over to the kitchen to get a glass of water. “I’ll be going over to somepony’s house soon. I won’t be back ‘til later tonight.”
Her uncle walked into the kitchen from the living room. “Oh? You’re going over to a friend’s house?” He asked, approaching Trixie from behind. “Sorry, I should have told you. I’ve already made plans for you.”
“Well, cancel them.” Trixie said, drinking her water quickly. “This is important. It’s for the school play this summer.”
“This is important too.” Trixie turned around, just in time to see her uncle put her to sleep with a tranquilizer spell. “Good night, dear niece of mine.”
Trixie woke up in a dark, cold room, chained to a post, and with her magic suppressed by an anti-magic ring. She looked around, and saw a familiar pony next to her. “Uncle?” She called out. Her uncle turned around to look at her, and she then realised that behind him were two other ponies, dressed in black business suits.
“Oh, good. You’re awake. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye.” Her uncle said, leaning down so that he was eyelevel with Trixie. “You see, Trixie, the money’s been coming in slow lately, and I have a few debts to pay…That’s why, I came up with this great idea!”
“W-What do you mean? What’s going on?” Trixie asked, fear building within her as she noticed the suited ponies moving closer to her.
“It’s simple, really. I need money, and you’re a valuable Unicorn. Blood of the Lulamoon clan is rare to come by these days. Especially such powerful blood like yours. That’s why these nice gentlestallions here have agreed to buy you at a very generous price! Isn’t that great?”
One of the suited ponies took a seat next to Trixie, pulling out a gun and pointing it at Trixie’s head. The other took out a briefcase and handed it to Trixie’s uncle, and opened it and whistled at the contests inside. He gave one final farewell to Trixie, and began to leave. “NO! UNCLE, WAIT! DON’T DO THIS! IF I DID ANYTHING TO UPSET YOU, I’M SORRY! PLEASE, DON’T LEAVE ME HERE!”
Trixie’s eyes were overflowing with tears as she realised what was happening. She had been sold like some kind of item, and Celestia only knew what would happen to her from there. It didn’t help when one of the suited ponies took out a thin strand of piano wire, and the other one opened a box filled with knives and plastic bags.
She was terrified. She’d seen enough mafia movies to know where this was going, and she struggled as hard as she could to break free. It was hopeless, though. With her hooves and magic bound the way they were, there was no hope of escape. She closed her eyes tight, waiting for her end to come.
After waiting for what felt like hours, but was really only a few minutes, she opened her eyes slowly, and raised her head. She saw a bright orange glow all around here, and then noticed that the room was on fire.
Twilight met up with Doctor in front of her library, ten minutes after leaving to search the Sweet Apple Acres farm area. Along with Doctor Whooves, there was Lyra, Bon Bon, and Big Macintosh.
“Doctor, she wasn’t anywhere at the farm.” Twilight said, panting as she ran up to the group.
“I see…Then, let’s divide into groups and search different parts of Ponyville. It goes without saying that they won’t be just lying out in the open, so search for basements or attics or locked rooms. Somewhere where nopony would be likely to walk in on them.” Doctor said, producing a map of Ponyville and laying it on the ground. “Drat, I just realised something…”
“What?” Twilight asked.
“Today’s a holiday, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but, what does that have to do with anything?”
Big Mac stepped forward and explained. “Many places will be closed today. So it’d be easy to hide in a shop whilst the owner is resting at home.”
Lyra grabbed a twig, being careful not use her magic. They didn’t know the extent of their magic limitations, but they didn’t want to take any chances. She used the twig to point to locations on the map. “Alright, I think it’d be best if Twilight and Doctor searched the west side of Ponyville, and in particular, the spa and school are good places to start. They’re big, and completely empty today.
“Bon Bon and I will search the east side. Town hall was covered in ponies earlier, so I can’t imagine they would have gone near there. In fact, the kidnapper probably used that diversion to take her away in the first place. So we’ll search the area far from town hall.
“Big Macintosh, you know all of the really good hiding spots around Ponyville, right?”
“Eeyup. Applejack an’ I used ta play hide ‘n’ seek all the time when we were kids, and she never once found me.” He said, a bit of pride evident in his voice.
“Then, you search all of those areas. You’ll be alright on your own, since you’re pretty though.” She threw the twig to the side, and let Doctor pick up the map. “We have 45 minutes, right? Let’s go! We can’t waste any time!”
The group nodded in agreement, and split up into three parties. Twilight and Doctor began by searching the school area.
Twilight and Doctor stormed into the classroom, and scanned the room closely. It was completely empty. But they didn’t want to take any chances. They began to walk around the room, searching the storage closet and looking at the schoolyard from outside the window.
Twilight stomped the ground in anger when she couldn’t find any sign of Sawdust or Trixie, and Doctor tried to calm her down. “Now now, let’s just go search the next area. We’ll find her, Twilight. Just have faith, and keep your spirits up.”
“Yes, exactly as Doctor says!” Twilight and Doctor turned to the entrance of the classroom to see an image of Sawdust, and Doctor charged at him, only to fall through the image of Sawdust and crash into the wall of the hallway outside. “But do hurry, won’t you? I think our playing may have gone too far, and at this rate, Trixie might not last the full hour.”
Twilight stared at the image in horror. “W-What do you mean? You said you’d give me a full hour! You can’t just change the rules like that!”
“What can I say? I thought she was tougher than that. I’m not saying she’ll definitely die before the time is up, but you never know.”
Sawdust grinned and began to fade away. “I’ll give you a hint. Remember…That I can hear everything you’re saying.” And with that, Sawdust faded away, leaving an angry Twilight Sparkle and a dizzy Doctor in the school building.
Twilight thought about the hint he just gave, trying to determine what he meant by that. “C’mon, Twilight…Think think think!” She yelled out loud, smacking a hoof against her forehead.
“Didn’t you say he could hear us by using an eavesdropping spell?” Doctor asked. “Was he trying to remind you of that?”
Suddenly, the answer hit Twilight. It was so obvious, and she couldn’t believe that she missed it earlier. “That’s it! For wide-range barriers, like the eavesdropping spell, the centre is the same as the point of origin! We find that, we find Sawdust!”
“Ok, sounds simple enough…” Doctor said, but sighed as he began to point out the problems with that plan. “But, you can’t see some barriers with the naked eye. And this appears to be one of them. Also, what if he moved after casting it?”
Twilight’s renewed smile stuck to her face as she began to leave the classroom. “He’s not a master at barrier magic. If he was, he would simply isolate Ponyville from the rest of Equestria altogether. Therefore, he can’t move too far from the point of origin, or he risks breaking the spell.
“As for seeing the barrier, it’s true we can’t see it with just our eyes. But with a Sonic Screwdriver…”
Doctor grinned as he got the message, and pulled out his Sonic Screwdriver. A frown then returned to him as he identified yet another problem with Twilight’s plan. “I don’t know what frequency to set it to. I’ve never dealt with this kind of barrier before.”
Twilight put a hoof to her chin as she tried to think of a solution. “Ah-hah! I should have a book in my library somewhere that describes the spell! Do you think you can find the right frequency from that?”
Doctor wasn’t sure, but he nodded anyway. “We’ll only know by checking. Let’s go! We only have 35 minutes left!”
“Twilight, you in here?” Applejack asked as she opened the door to the library. She, along with the rest of the rest of the gang, entered the library, looking around for Twilight and/or Trixie. It had been far too long since Twilight had left to pick up Trixie, and they were starting to get worried. “Twi? Trixie?”
Rainbow Dash flew up into Twilight’s room, and came back to confirm that neither of them were there. Spike went down into the basement, only to come back and tell the others that neither of them were down there, either.
“Where could they have gone? I’m really starting to worry now…” Rarity said, picking up a few books that were scattered along the floor and shelving them with her magic.
Pinkie Pie hopped around the room, looking under tables and chairs. “Hey, you don’t think they’ve gone off and are throwing their own part somewhere, do you?”
Applejack looked inside Twilight’s downstairs closet, and saw the present that Twilight had bought for Trixie. “I don’t think so. It looks like something’s happened…”
Before they could discuss what could have possibly happened, they heard the library door open, and turned around to see Twilight and Doctor entering the library, both panting and sweating as if they’d just ran a marathon.
“Twilight!? Where in tarnation have you been?” Applejack asked, but was ignored as Twilight immediately began looking through her bookshelves. “Wait, where’s Trixie?”
“Spike! I need that book on advanced barriers! Quick!” Twilight shouted, still looking through the bookshelves.
Spike scratched his head and looked at her with a puzzled look. “Huh? Why do you need that all of a sudden?”
“JUST GET IT!” She shouted, startling the others in the room. She was obviously frantic at this point, although to Doctor, it was understandable, given that they only had 23 minutes left.
“Ok, ok!” Spike said, running over to the other side of the library. He searched through a bookshelf, and then took out a book. “Here it is!”
Twilight was ready to snatch the book with her magic, but managed to hold herself back, remembering the rules that Sawdust mentioned. She instead ran over to Spike’s side, and snatched it out of his hands with her hooves. She ran over to her desk, with Doctor running up next to her.
“Right, here it is!” She said, opening the book up to the page describing the spell.
Doctor nodded, and adjusted some of the dials on the side of his Sonic Screwdriver. “Ok, this should just about do it!” He said cheerfully. He and Twilight both left the library, with her friends following to see what was going on. “Alright, let’s see what we’ve got here…”
The Sonic Screwdriver lit up, and started buzzing, and soon enough, a large, green barrier was visible above the town. Twilight looked towards the centre of the barrier, and looked at what was underneath it. “The Ponyville bell tower!” She shouted, pointing a hoof at their destination. “Come on! Let’s go!” She shouted, running into the direction of the bell tower, with Doctor following close behind.
“You girls stay here! We’ll take care of this and be back lickety-split!” Doctor shouted to Twilight’s friends, though it was pointless, since they had started following him. He didn’t have time to stop and explain things to him, so he tried a different route. “Actually, we could use your help!”
“Really? What with? Is Trixie in trouble again?” Rainbow Dash asked, flying closely behind Doctor.
“Go to town hall and wait for our signal! Me and Twilight can handle this alone, but we need you girls to wait there!” The girls exchanged glances at each other, obviously not convinced. “Look, just trust me, ok!? This is very important!” He said with a pleading look. That seemed to convince Twilight’s friends, as they shifted direction and began running towards town hall. ‘Sorry, girls. I’ll explain later, but we can’t risk taking too many ponies there. Especially when Fluttershy, an “outsider”, is one of them.’
Twilight and Doctor reached the bell tower with 12 minutes to spare. They allowed a minute to catch their breaths, not wanting to go in completely worn out, in case they were suddenly attacked. Doctor opened the door, and led the way in.
The door slammed shut behind, and locked itself. They turned around and saw a magical aura around the door vanishing. They were definitely in the right place. They began ascending the spiral staircase of the tower, making their way to the top as quickly as possible.
“They must be in there.” Twilight said as they reached the top, reaching a single door. “Trixie!?” Twilight shouted as she slammed the door open. She saw Trixie sitting down, chained to some kind of contraption, at the other side of the room. Trixie raised her head, and looked at Twilight, but was too weak to say or do anything.
“Ah, it’s about time! I was wondering when we could start the grand finale!” Sawdust shouted, turning Twilight’s attention towards him. Doctor immediately stood between Sawdust and Twilight, glaring at Sawdust whilst trying to think of a plan to escape. “Oh, and you brought a spectator, too! How very kind of you! It’s always nice to have your greatest shows be witnessed by somepony, don’t you think?”
“We found you already, now release Trixie!” Twilight ordered. She would have just used her magic to hold Sawdust down, but since he was pointing a gun at Trixie’s head, that idea went out the window. “You said you’d release her if we found her in time!”
“No, I didn’t.” Sawdust pointed out. “I said I’d give you a chance to save her. And that I will.” He used his magic to levitate the knife that was sticking out of the wall next to Twilight, and brought it over to her. “You still have 8 minutes left. Now, take the knife, and run it through your body.”
Twilight and Doctor froze in place immediately, both staring at the levitating knife as it eventually dropped to the floor. Doctor turned back towards Sawdust. “Are you serious?” He asked, still trying desperately to figure out a way to get out of this situation.
“But of course.” Sawdust said, removing his shades and staring Doctor in the eyes, his insane, menacing glance causing Doctor to flinch and back away slightly. “Not in the throat or heart. Somewhere where you’ll die a slow, painful death.” He moved his gun closer to Trixie’s head, tapping it against her temple, to remind them of the situation. “It’s you or her, Twilight. I promise, no matter which of you dies, the other will live. Now, make your choice. You have 7 minutes remaining.”